There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that tea protects from certain cancers, including breast cancer. The famous Nurses’ Health Study from Harvard found that drinking four or more cups of tea per day (versus one or fewer) was associated with 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer.13 Animal studies have also revealed that clear tea, tea with milk and extracts of tea can block breast cancer development.
Like fruits and vegetables, tea is a plant food, and as such it contains natural chemicals that act as antioxidants. The antioxidants in tea leaves belong to a special class of compounds called catechins. By mopping up harmful free radical molecules in the body, catechins in tea may prevent damage to the genetic material of breast cells.
There are three main types of tea: green tea, black tea and oolong. All three come from the same tea plant, but they are processed differently. Herbal teas are not made from tea leaves and, as a result, they don’t have the antioxidant properties of green and black tea. Here are a few tips to help you get a little tea into your diet.
• If you drink coffee in the afternoon, replace it with tea.
• The next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a box of green tea bags.
• If you’re preparing an Asian meal at home, serve it with a pot of green tea. Use the bags or buy it loose.
• Replace all regular and diet soft drinks with tea.
• Enjoy a cup of tea with your mid-day snack. Try different flavors like Earl Grey, apricot or black currant.
The next time you’re at your local coffee bar, try chai tea, a spicy hot drink made from tea and spices. To cut down on the sugar content, ask for half the amount of syrup.